Last night representatives of the national suburban developers Toll Brothers presented their latest renderings for a 115-unit apartment tower in the heart of Jewelers Row to the Washington Square West Civic Association. As reported by PlanPhilly, the five threatened buildings–all dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries–will be demolished if the plan moves forward. The glass-lined tower, originally 16 stories, now looms over the roofline at 29 stories in the updated proposal. The plans includes a four-story, brick-skinned podium with 2,600 square feet of retail space. The block, America’s oldest diamond district, is not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places as an historic district and is currently zoned CMX-5, allowing dense, new construction and by-right development. Much to the dismay of neighbors and preservation activists, Toll Bros. will not preserve the historic facades of 704 and 706-08 Sansom Street, as the company promised in its original plan.
the media, the public, and the Committee on Historic Designation, which voted in favor to recommend the properties for legal protection. In a statement to The Inquirer, Mayor Jim Kenney said, “I do believe that Toll Bros. remains committed to maintaining Jewelers Row as a historical, cultural gem.” The $100 million residential project will go before the Civic Design Review committee in February.